Vic West resident and Merchant Navy veteran Bill Emberly is askiing Esquimalt council for permission to install a monument in Memorial Park in the township

On a quest to remember

Merchant navy veteran seeking installation of Battle of Atlantic marker in Esquimalt park

At night, the lights on Bill Emberly’s merchant navy cargo ship were blacked out, to ward off attack from German u-boats skulking in the ocean.

It took three harrowing weeks for convoys of ships to transport goods and personnel from Canada to Britain during the Second World War.

The sun is now setting on the aging veterans of Canada’s merchant navy fleet, as well as those military personnel who played a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic during the war.

For that reason, Emberly, who joined the merchant navy as a teen, is on a quest to create a Battle of the Atlantic monument that would be unique to the Island.

It would pay homage to Canada’s civilian merchant navy, the Royal Canadian Navy vessels that escorted the merchant ships and Royal Canadian Air Force bomber planes that patrolled the skies above.

“It was a six-year campaign, night and day, chased by submarines and everything else,” Emberly recently told Esquimalt council, when he requested to place the monument in the township’s Memorial Park.

“Britain was starving to death. The war could not have been won without that convoy fleet.”

The black marble memorial, valued at $7,000, would not cost Esquimalt taxpayers anything, Emberly said. He said he has people lined up to pay for the cairn and the installation of the monument’s base.

“It’s almost too late for even thinking about this,” said Emberly, 84. “The average age of the merchant seaman is 87 years.”

Between 50 and 60 merchant seamen, on average, pass away every year, he said.

“This is a thing that we should never forget; there was 60,000 to 70,000 men who died (in the battle).”

The monument would feature engraved images of a Canadian merchant navy cargo tanker, a navy corvette ship and an air force bomber.

“I think that we should be honouring all those who have helped make our life what it is today,” said Coun. Tim Morrison.

Esquimalt municipal staff have been asked to bring back a report to council, as well as seek input from the township’s parks and recreation and heritage advisory committees.

“I think it’s a worthy thing for us to consider, and we need to figure out how we might be able to do that,” Coun. Lynda Hundleby said.

 

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Mental health walk/run aims to outpace depression

Walk increased to 5k, run to 10k

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read